I recall, a few months ago, going head to head against a few mostly faceless strangers in yet another session of online poker. I say mostly faceless because the game allowed profile pictures, which are shown seated around the digital table, but have long ago learned that profile photos are almost always not an accurate representation of the person.
Either way, a player named Awesome-Sauce had almost immediately started to get on my nerves. The person entered the game, and instantly started throwing down large bets, with virtually no reason to be doing so. Large bets places straight off the bat annoy me, since I like the courtesy of swapping out my cards, and seeing my full hand, before being forced to put down money. Yes, I’m aware that one of the core reasons poker is such an interesting game is that a player can put down large bets, even before the draw, but Awesome-Sauce was doing so consistently, on every hand, and it was obvious that he or she was doing so regardless of what hand they got.
As time went on I began to get exasperated, not only because Awesome-Sauce sauce kept the trend going, but also because he or she somehow also managed to win with alarming regularity. I began to hate Awesome-Sauce with a burning passion, watching the chips gather beside the profile photo of a car meme, and becoming ever more aware that he or she was, let’s just be honest, a much better player than I.
Enemy Is The Name Of The Game
Not that many online casino games put strangers against one another. In fact, I can only think of poker off the top of my head. And let’s just say it out loud; poker is not game where you are setting out to make friends. No, you are setting out to take money from everyone, and that isn’t usually an environment for blossoming friendships. Sure, in many cases people can still get on well enough, at least if it’s a low stakes table. But on many occasions I have seen mortal enemies be created at online poker tables. Losing a great deal of money to a stranger is simply a recipe for enemies.
But then, I have personally also managed to have enormous hateful grudges against computer programmes on a number of occasions. I recall one online blackjack session in which I somehow, over the course of an hour, developed a character for the computer dealer in my head. Yes, I was fully aware that the computer programme was random, but upon losing consistently started to imagine the dealer as smarmy, too cool for school guy with slicked back hair, who would raise an eyebrow at me with each consecutive loss.
Chad was his name, and I hated Chad so much I wanted nothing more than to shove a few casino chips where the sun didn’t shine. And now, whenever I get into a losing streak at any online game, I imagine the dealer to be Chad making a comeback.
Friend Is The Name Of The Game
In most cases, however, it much easier to gain stranger allies in online casino games, than stranger enemies. Which I think says a lot for the clever design choices that have gone into many casino games. Craps, for example, is a game that all but whole-heartedly encourages strangers to root for one another. Multiplayer craps is where I have had some of the most fun playing online casino games. Betting on another shooter’s rolls is thrilling for a number of reasons, especially when a person happens to get into a zone. An almost inexplicable bond can be formed with that faceless stranger, and on many occasions I have found myself asking a shooter how they feel about the next roll. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous, but also so much fun.
Baccarat is another game that encourages bonding and friendships, and in one live baccarat game I attended, even the dealer started to go out of her way to engage with the players, and help bonds be formed. In almost all my times in live casino games dealers have stayed completely unbiased and professional, but in this particular game a dealer named Rita engaged the players, and partook in the conversations. By the end, when I cashed out and left, I bizarrely felt like I was leaving behind lifelong friends.
Anonymity Is Deceiving
But this brings me to the conclusion of my little story with Awesome-Sauce. After getting worked up to the point of hair pulling rage, I struck up a conversation with Awesome-Sauce, wondering if it was perhaps Chad in human form. And, I’m serious about this, it turned out that Awesome Sauce was a 67 year old woman. She was sweet, and even gave me a few poker tips, but was also a hard core, long time poker player, and didn’t pull her punches. We didn’t become friends, per se, but damn do I respect that lady. And if I see her playing anywhere again I’ll pick a different game. Because smart players know when they are beaten.